[ACLA 2016] Liquidly Queer: Fluids That Matter

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American Comparative Literature Association

Slick, lubed, squirting, dry: bodies, fluids and the act of sex have long been sensually, erotically intertwined. But what would it look like to move from a poetics to a queer politics of fluids? From the fluids of the sex act to liquid metaphors employed to express trans*/gender/sexual fluidity, to a broader, critical exploration of new (sensual, fluid) materialisms, this seminar centers on a hypothesis: a closer reconsideration of fluids, both literal and figurative, may open up new approaches to queer analysis. Insofar as Judith Butler's 1993 Bodies that Matter proposed an investigation into the ways that bodies come to matter, and Mel Chen's 2012 Animacies suggest an expansive range of affectively charged objects, this seminar explores the matter of fluids and the ways that fluids matter to (on/within/for) us. Another critic who informs this seminar is Kyla Tompkins, whose 2012 Racial Indigestion signaled the racial and sexual politics in the American antebellum that constellate around the site of the mouth,fantasies of edible black bodies, and the "queer alimentarity" that is produced. This seminar endeavors to go a step further to consider specifically liquid incarnations of queer matter, aliment, embodiment or intimacy. By training our lenses of analysis on the liquidly paracorporeal -- the fluids that unite and separate us, that flow within and between us, that are circulated and exchanged—we hope to reconsider different forms of attachment, eroticism, and desire.

From the caress of ink calligraphy on skin in Peter Greenaway's 1996 The Pillow Book, to the "flaying" bite of pineapple juice on a Barbados slaveowner's tongue (1657) --what are the potentials and limits of liquids as material and metaphor, organic and inorganic, human, animal or vegetable? We are interested in fluids consumed and fetishized, liquids that contaminate, intoxicate and more across a wide range of time periods, languages, and textual/aesthetic objects. This seminar might examine, on a macro level, the commodification of sensual fluids (spermaceti, breast milk), the feminist and queer politics of blood (menstruation, transfusions, violences), the pleasure and disgust of racialized liquids. We also encourage analyses that present more intimate evaluations of a range of aesthetic objects and archives. We invite papers that may explore these issues and more through the intersection of fields such as queer, feminist, and gender studies, food studies, ecocriticism, new materialism, and affect theory.

Please apply through the ACLA website September 1 to 23rd. http://www.acla.org/ You do not need to be a member of ACLA to submit a proposal